Assessment the Level Sustainability of Rural Destinations to Achieve Rural Tourism Development with Destination Image Modifier (Case Study: Derak Dehestan- Shiraz County)

Document Type : علمی


Semnan University


Extended abstract
Rural tourism can be defined as the ‘country experience’ which encompasses a wide range of attractions and activities that take place in agricultural or non-urban areas. Its essential characteristics include wide-open spaces, low levels of tourism development, and opportunities for visitors to directly experience agricultural and/or natural environments. In the recent years, aside from its positive economic and social influences in the rural areas, tourism has been strongly accorded as a resource for the renewal and sustainable development of these areas. In fact, rural tourism is considered as a means of sustainable Development and natural resources protection. On the other hand, rural destination image is connected to common representations of rurality in tourism and rural imaginaries.
In Iran, 30 percent of the population live in rural areas. The villages of Drak Dehestan in Fars province is one of the most important region in Iran that has the potential for tourism sustainable development. In this way, the purpose of this paper is assessing the economic, social and environmental sustainability with regard to destination image role as a modifier factor in villages of Derak Dehestan in Shiraz city.
Nowadays, tourism is considered as the most comprehensive service industry of the world that has acquired a special place in economic, cultural, social, and political realms. Worldwide changes in the aftermath of the Second World War regarding the prevalence of urbanization, large cities, urban environmental pollutions, and the increase of leisure time resulted in the expansion of rural tourism. In the following decades, tourism was considered as a tool for rural development. Scientists have tried, by means of different patterns, to promote the role of tourism in the rural development. Therefore, it is possible to organically combine the two streams of destination identity research in the examination of a rural destination's image structure. Moreover, to construct a destination identity that represents localized features and lifestyles and elicits a holistic image suitable for tourism promotion, it is necessary to understand the role of rurality in rural tourism.
In this research, a descriptive-correlation method was used and in terms of purpose, it is an applied research. Data were analyzed with Structural Equation Modeling (LISREL) and Partial Least Squares method (PLS). According to Morgan table and stratified random sampling method, 385 tourists were selected. To collect data, questionnaire was used and its validity and reliability were examined by Cronbach's alpha, composite reliability and construct validity (confirmatory factor analysis). The levels of sustainability in the villages were done by selection of a number of important elements. Economic sustainability were measured by 5 items of the questionnaire including employment, living condition, earning money, migration of economic actors and land prices in the area. In order to investigate the social sustainability, a total of 4 items were applied; cultural exchange between people and tourists, tendency to addiction, public security and social links. Environmental sustainability indicator includes 5 items, i.e., air pollution, noise pollution, natural areas, the construction in pristine areas, traditional texture village of Qalat.
In this research, most important aspects of sustainability have considered. In these villages, there are a range of positive and negative impacts in terms of rural tourism development. Results show social sustainability has highest impact factor (0.33). After that economic sustainability (0.22) and environmental sustainability (0.15) have more impact factor in the way of rural tourism development in selected villages of Drake region. Economic and environmental sustainable levels are lower than mean and social level is higher than mean. Moreover, the destination image as a modifier variable has positive and significant effect on economic sustainability, but it has not effect on social sustainability in Derak Dehestan and there is not significant relation between them. The Destination image has adverse and significant relation on environmental sustainability.
The image destination can have important role for rural destination. There is a dynamic tension between tourists' imagination and tourism destinations. The tourists' consumption of and interaction with rural are dependent on offering rural areas that match tourists' expectations. This research show that destination image can impacts rural sustainability. It can be said the more we have positive image towards rural destination, the more we have sustainability.
Given the findings, some suggestions are also presented, i.e., consider the role of local authority in the development of tourism as an effective factor to participate locals and raise awareness of the benefits of rural tourism development. Like other studies, this study has limitations. Including limited access to some tourists and inappropriateness of fitness model. It is suggested for future studies to examine the personal and demographic factors on people's willingness to visit and consider its impact on tourism development.


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